tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC October 17, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
this is "world news." tonight death of a champion. seven seconds, ununprecedented fiery reaction at 200 miles per hour and we have news tonight about the young superstar. why was he the one to die. on the move, another sign of a surge for hman cain. we take a look at his personal story and the positions people say they can grasp that seem to keep them coming back. bill shock. how cell phone companies are using the fine print to charge outrageous fees. big changes tonight in the way they do business and how much you'll pay. and bringing america back. when their hometown lost its
grocery store, these teenagers took action. good evening, it was a collision as big and fiery as we have ever seen on live television in a sports arena. first one, then five, then 10, then 15 cars slamming, flying disintegrating at the hugely popular indy car race in las vegas broadcast by espn. and tonight, we set out to answer a question being asked by everyone throughout this day, when so many cars crashed and caught on fire, why was a 33-year-old champion and father the one who could not survive? with answers here's abc's josh elliott. >> a huge crash. >> reporter: it was over in fewer than seven seconds racing's biggest fear, a massive, fiery and fatal crash.
>> oh, my. >> reporter: in an instant, the las vegas field reduced to fiery carnage that claimed 15 cars including dan wheldon's who just this may was on top of the racing world winning the indy 500. it begins with just a slight jostling of two cars, which sets into motion a chain reaction that stunned even the drivers themselves. instantly four cars collide and are swept into the track's wall raining fiery debris onto the course. the drivers of the trailing cars traveling more than a football field's length per second had no time to react. nowhere to go. this, the perspective of wheldon himself, just before his 77 car hits the back of another and is sent airborne along with two others at the mercy of fate and luck. >> i had never seen in 40 years of racing an accident like that. >> reporter: drivers likely survived the fiery scene because
they wear fire-retardant suits, reinforced helmets and sit in a foamed cockpit. the track itself is enclosed by a shock-absorbent retaining wall. only wheldon's car struck above that crash-absorbing wall cockpit first. >> crash fence is the danger zone. it acts like a cheese grater that just tears the car apart. >> reporter: drivers were concerned about the racetrack. short straightaways and steep turns daring drivers to hurtle at speeds of over 220 miles per hour. drivers like danica patrick remain virtually inconsolable. >> i just feel for his family. >> reporter: a family that was at his side when wheldon passed including his wife susan and their two young sons, 2-year-old sebastian and 6-month-old oliver who lost their father far too soon, dan wheldon. we've just learned the official cause of death, blunt force trauma ha to the head. one other note, diane, he was helping to test a safer car
which will be implemented next season. >> what's the lesson of all this, josh, for the sport, for this track? >> this track in particular is not suited for indy car racing which is much faster than nars car, it was too small, too crowded a track and blighted by one horrible stroke of the worst sort of luck. >> all right. thanks so much, josh elliott reporting in tonight. now we turn to jobs in america. and a new duel shaping up between democrats and republicans over what is right to do. president obama saying today if republicans will not pass his big $450 billion jobs bill, he's going to break it apart and ask for a vote one idea at a time. so what are these ideas? abc's jake tapper is traveling with the president in miller's creek, north carolina. >> reporter: day one of the president's bus tour to convince voters in two key battleground states that he's fighting for them. >> here in north carolina a lot of folks have spent months looking for work.
>> reporter: and push his $450 billion jobs bill. since it failed to clear a senate hurdle last week, he announced will be broken up into bite-size chunks. >> maybe they just couldn't understand the whole thing all at once. >> reporter: though it's unclear if congress will swallow it, the first bite is $35 billion to help state and local governments fund teachers, police officers and firefighters. paid for by a 0.5% tax increase on millionaires which the president opposes. the president's salesmanship is showing signs of success. when asked who they trusted more to create jobs, president obama or the republicans in congress, in september, the republican was evenly divided. now the president leads by 15 points. mr. obama today eviscerated the new republican jobs bill sounding out a campaign theme and trying to channel some of the occupy wall street anger. >> they want to gut regulations. they want to let wall street do whatever it wants. >> all: no. four more years.
four more years. >> i appreciate the four more years, but right now i'm thinking about the next 13 months. >> reporter: much of those 13 months will be spent in these officially noncampaign events contrasting his ideas with republicans going to general stores and barbecue joints talking to voters and their children. diane, assuredly many of these noncampaign events just happen to be taking place in competitive battleground states such as here in north carolina and tomorrow in virginia. diane? >> okay, jake, thanks. now your voice, your vote and everyone who thought herman cain might be the latest 15-minute wonder got a shock. a new poll shows herman cain is in a statistical dead heat with mitt romney who has been campaigning for years and jon karl looks at what polls show republicans voters are loving. >> reporter: the cain surge continues and over the weekend, republican crowds were loving
it. >> stupid people are running america. >> reporter: the secret of cain's appeal is the simplicity of his solutions. he's a hard-liner who makes you laugh. >> i would bring a sense of humor to the white house because america's too uptight. >> reporter: it's the approach he used during his successful run as ceo of godfather's pizza. he shut down underperforming stores but also serenaded pizza lovers. ♪ imagine there's no pizza ♪ i couldn't if i tried ♪ eating only tacos or kentucky f fried ♪ >> reporter: cain's greatest asset is his personal story. he grew up dirt poor in atlanta. his mother, a maid, his father, a barber, a chauffeur and a janitor. >> this is why i don't have a
lot of sympathy for people who believe that this country owes them something. >> reporter: self-reliance is cain's creed. many years ago he was refused a haircut in a white-only barbershop. ever since cain says he's cut his own hair. five years ago cain had stage iv colon cancer and wafter major surgery 70% of his liver removed and chemo he has been cancer free since 2007. his 9-9-9 plan has brought brought to politics the kind of marketing savvy that turned around godfather's pizza and earned a bit of ridicule too. >> five of those soldiers and five of those dogs that got osama bin laden. >> reporter: in another unconventional move cain's aides says he will make a direct plan for getting african-american votes. an inner city plan with tax rates lower than 9-9-9.
>> all right, jon karl reporting tonight. now the fbi and authorities in philadelphia are piecing together clues on something so brightal they say they have not seen anything like this before. here's abc's justice department correspondent pierre thomas. >> reporter: the fbi has joined an investigation of potential crimes that philadelphia police are calling pure evil. mentally disabled victims locked awayay held prisoner whe thieves stole their money in an identity theft scam that may stretch across the country. >> it's unconsiderable and there's no other way to describe it. >> reporter: it was revealed when a landlord responded to complaints about people sneaking into the basement of this philadelphia apartment. the landlord found a chained door. pushing it partially open and shining his flashlight into the darkness he discovered four people including one man chained to a boiler. police say the suspects had been stealing the social security disability checks of their prisoners. at least one of the victims may
have been held for years. >> to know that something like that is going on within five feet away from you is shocking. >> reporter: the alleged ring leader linda ann weston was convicted of locking a man in a closet and starving him to death in 1981 and there are fears tonight there could be more victims. police have discovered documents with the names of 50 people from three more states. philadelphia police have begun calling police in other jurisdictions for help. the good news tonight, the victims are all recuperating well including herbert noles who even found the strength to smile after his ordeal. but it's a race against time. police are hustling tonight. they need to know if there are more victims. they want to make sure no one else is locked away somewhere in the dark, diane. >> looking across the country tonight. thank you, pierre. still ahead on "world news." bill shock. cell phone companies using the fine print to take money out of your pocket. tonight, big changes coming. and you'll meet the teens
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expect. well, today a deal that could eventually put some restraints on what is called bill shock. abc's lisa stark explains. >> reporter: when alex cullison opened his family's cell phone bill, he could not believe his eyes. $400. more than four times what he expected. did you have any warning that you were going to exceed your limit? >> none whatsoever. >> reporter: alex's son sent and received 2,000 text messages. the plan's limit, 250. that's nothing compared to what happened to helen schwartz. >> it was so outrageous that, i didn't even know where to start. >> reporter: her bill more than $5,000. and no warning. her family plan had no internet package but her son checked e-mail and downloaded ringtones. wireless companies push value as a key selling point of their plan. >> families can call any u.s. mobile phone for free. >> reporter: but if you go over
the plan limit, that's where they debt you. a dime or more for receiving or sending a text message, 45 cents a minute to make a call. how about $10 for browsing the web. >> it's analogous to credit card companies that try to trick you and trap you into praying more than you thought you were going to. >> reporter: it is not that uncommon. one is six phone users has experienced bill shock. today, cell phone companies promise to start warning consumers before they hit their limits. >> our companies are biting the bullet and we're going to get this done. >> reporter: at no charge to consumers either hidden or otherwise? >> no. >> reporter: now while some send these alerts others will have a year and a half to put their programs in place. of course, you can always choose plans with no limits but those cost more and even there watch the fine print. lisa stark, abc news, washington. and coming up, the children of the plains.
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to her. >> i had lost half my vision and that was with both eyes and it's come back now. but i have difficulty reading. >> reporter: and doctor, as we said are scrambling to diagnose and determine what really happened at the bottom of the earth. and last week we took you to a hidden corner of america to meet the warrior children of the lakota tribe in south dakota. growing up with so much hope for the future, despite the poverty around them, the adults overwhelmed by alcohol, their stories sparked a stunning reaction from all of you. we heard from thousands of you and tonight, gratitude. it was a stunning reaction to the singers, the seekers, the dreamers of pine ridge declaring wow, those kids have stolen my heart like those children at wounded knee school.
tell me how. speaking their own lakota language and filled with hope even though they wake up where 80% of the dulls are unemployed. there's not a single mall, movie theater, big business or bank to be seen. one viewer wrote us "even though i'm unemployed, i'm going to try to help somehow." ♪ >> reporter: elena, the 19-year-old new mother aspiring singer at "american idol" told us so many people wrote to help encourage her. and you wrote asking how you can help 6-year-old tashina iron horse whose father died a passenger in a car accident where the driver had been drinking. and louise clifford, the star student who took us riding with her over the hills of the pine ridge. >> everything just gets to me because it's strong and in my blood. >> reporter: she turns 14 this week and so many of you offered schoolbooks and help with
tuition. and then there's robert look twice, the 13-year-old student council president with very big dreams. what is your goal for yourself? >> i want to be the first indian american president. >> among those who are inspired by him, the biological father he never met, a football coach who contacted him and they'll see each other in just a few weeks. and if you want to watch the whole report it is, of course, online and you can find ways to help there, as well. go to abcnews.com/worldnews. coming up, two inspired teachers, some great high school students who were bringing their hometown back tonight.
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of us and during the time of cleopatra, only 15 million people on the globe and by the way where will that 7 billionth baby be born? population experts say the most likely place will be india. and now, bringing america back, as you know, we here at abc news has been taking up the cause looking for ways all of our neighbors find solutions in an economy causing so much strain. "20/20" anchor chris cuomo is leading the charge with a coalition of teenagers on a mission to bring their hometown back. >> reporter: bonnie seymour grew up in leeton, missouri. what was it like to realize that what you saw was thriving was gone? >> it was geopoliticaling. very saddened. >> reporter: there are less than 700 lives here now. but 100 years ago the place was booming. today leeton is suffering the face of many rural community, squeezed with bigger towns with box stores then about a decade ago the local grocery store closed and many people stopped
going into town at all. ♪ >> reporter: but here at the leeton school, the kids and teachers decided their town would not become another statistic. bonnie and marijayne manley, teachers, teamed up with their students to convince the school to do something educational and amazing, to turn the town's old bank building into a new grocery store. so was born the bulldog express, named after the school mascot. high schoolers do everything it takes to run the small business, taking care of the store, the inventory and the cash. the economic lessons come quickly. what do you think the store has taught you? what does it take to make jobs. >> you just can't go and fine a money tree and expect a business to come out of it. you actually have to look into it and plan it. >> reporter: the bulldog express stocks all the essentials folks need especially seniors who otherwise have to drive to the next town to get supplies. >> if you're a senior citizen and you're not able to drive,
it's pretty much walking distance from anywhere in town. >> reporter: three years on the store is about break-even, and there's a degreely in the works along with other plans to bring downtown alive. you quickly see the bulldog express is about more than food. what do you think people can learn from what's going on here in leeton? >> how we have brought our community together. how we've brought pride back into our town. >> ready, one, two, three. >> reporter: the students from the leeton school are bringing america back with the bulldog express, which is now a textbook example literally a case study in a college text. a true ray of hope in this struggling town, yep, that's a real rainbow showing what is possible all over america. the whole community is keeping it going and, diane, the message here is simple. when people come together so much can be asdheefed and that's
something we need more than ever. >> i love that real and symbolic rainbow. thanks for watching on this monday. we're always on at abcnews.com and don't forget, "nightline" will be along later and, of course, we will see you right back here tomorrow night. hope you have a wonderful evening. good night.